Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cyberwarfare

Putin: Patriotic Russians Could Be Behind Election Hacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin says patriotic citizens may have launched politically motivated cyberattacks against foreign countries, but denied any government involvement in such operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says patriotic citizens may have launched politically motivated cyberattacks against foreign countries, but denied any government involvement in such operations.

Following accusations that Russian state-sponsored hackers interfered with the recent elections in the United States, Putin was asked on Thursday at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg about the possibility of Russian hackers influencing the upcoming elections in Germany. Putin responded by comparing hackers to artists.

“If artists get up in the morning feeling good, all they do all day is paint,” Putin said. “The same goes for hackers. They got up today and read that something is going on internationally. If they are feeling patriotic they will start contributing, as they believe, to the justified fight against those speaking ill of Russia.”

The Russian president noted that while this is possible in theory, his country does not engage in such activities on a government level. Putin also highlighted that threat actors could launch attacks and make it look like the source was Russia – a task that he described as “very easy.”

On the other hand, Putin said he was convinced that hackers cannot have a real impact on an election campaign.

“We do not engage in this activity at the government level and are not going to engage in it. On the contrary, we try to prevent this from happening in our country,” he said. “At any rate, I believe that no hackers can affect the election campaign in any European country, nor in Asia or in America.”

The United States has officially accused Russia of attempting to interfere with recent elections and an investigation has been launched to assess the impact of the cyberattacks on their outcome.

Thomas Rid, a professor in the department of War Studies at King’s College London, believes the comments made by Putin are strategic.

Thomas Rid comments on Putin statement

Russian hackers are also believed to have targeted the political campaign of French President Emmanuel Macron. The attacks were uncovered by security firms, but the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) also claimed to have warned France of the attacks.

The threat groups tracked as Fancy Bear (aka APT28, Pawn Storm, Sofacy Group, Sednit and STRONTIUM) and Cozy Bear (aka APT29, Office Monkeys and Cozy Duke) are widely believed to be associated with Russia. While many security firms refrain from making statements on attribution or simply point out that the hackers speak Russian, some companies have gone as far as to link them to Russian government agencies, such as the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the military intelligence agency GRU.

Related: DHS Uses Cyber Kill Chain to Analyze Russia-Linked Election Hacks

Related: Trump’s Intel Bosses Reiterate – Russia Meddled in Election

Related: Ex-CIA Chief Says He Warned Russia to Stay Out of Election

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Cyberwarfare

Websites of German airports, administration bodies and banks were hit by DDoS attacks attributed to Russian hacker group Killnet

Management & Strategy

Industry professionals comment on the recent disruption of the Hive ransomware operation and its hacking by law enforcement.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Management & Strategy

SecurityWeek examines how a layoff-induced influx of experienced professionals into the job seeker market is affecting or might affect, the skills gap and recruitment...

Management & Strategy

Tens of cybersecurity companies have announced cutting staff over the past year, in some cases significant portions of their global workforce.

Cyberwarfare

Iranian APT Moses Staff is leaking data stolen from Saudi Arabia government ministries under the recently created Abraham's Ax persona

Cybercrime

CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.